Find Your Balance

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Some days I eat really well, have an awesome workout and get a lot done.
Other days I eat like crap, lay on the couch half the day and watch ridiculous amounts of Friends re-runs.

It’s all about balance.

By the way, I recommend having more of the “eat well and workout” kind of days over the “lazy and worthless” kind of days, but lazy days are completely necessary every once in a while.

Some of you may have noticed that I didn’t blog last week. Is that because I was having a lazy week? No, it was quite the opposite. I just did not have the time to sit down and write. On top of that, I’ve been having a hard time organizing my thoughts, so if I had blogged, it would’ve been extremely scatterbrained. Even more so than usual. ; )
So why was last week so busy? (Let’s pretend you asked.) Well, I finally started my new position as a Health Enhancement Coordinator for a school district and I am so excited about it! As much as I enjoy working in a clinical setting and helping people who are sick, I am thankful to also have the opportunity to work with people who are well and motivated and want to improve their physical health through nutrition and exercise, as well as their mental health. (I strongly believe that mental health is just as important and gets overlooked too often.)

We as dietitians always tell people to consume a well-balanced diet; that way you aren’t leaving out any important nutrients. Shouldn’t it be just as important to live a well-balanced life, so you’re not leaving out any important people, responsibilities or healthy behaviors? It can be hard to juggle it all sometimes – between school, work (sometimes multiple jobs), friends, family, significant others, spouses, kids, exercising, eating well, grocery shopping, cleaning, chores, paying the bills, and still making time to relax and have a little fun.

Find your balance.

That’s precisely what I’m trying to do now. Life has been a bit of a whirlwind lately. An extremely fun, awesome, busy, crazy, exciting and sometimes stressful whirlwind. So much has happened since I first started my blog back in May – it’s crazy to think about. Graduating, passing my RD exam, starting my first big-girl job, my brother getting married, starting another job, the Royals making it to the WORLD SERIES and all the fun, little happenings in between.

When life gets crazy busy like that you really have to remember what your priorities are so you don’t lose sight of what’s important. It can be way too easy to slowly give up working out, or lose touch with close friends, or stop caring about your diet, etc. (The snowball effect.) When you start to let go of these important parts of your life, you may end up finding yourself in an unhappy place. Maybe you’ve gained weight without even realizing it or you’re feeling depressed because you haven’t been making enough time for yourself or the people you love. Take a step back and decide if you have a good balance in your life. If not, do some reevaluating and move forward by making some necessary changes.

The past few weeks are a prime example of a time when it might be easy to lose all control. If you also live in Kansas City, you probably understand why. The Royals have been in the playoffs, and now they are World Series bound! (I’m not mad about this AT ALL, by the way. I’m ecstatic – it’s just a good example.) But there have been so many games and with them, so many opportunities to skip the gym after work to go out to eat at a bar, kick back and have a few beers on weeknights and THEN comes the weekend, where we all tend to lose control anyway. While I have allowed myself to partake in the festivities and have fun going out to watch the games, I haven’t completely let myself go. When there is an evening game and I know I won’t have time to go to the gym after work, I set an alarm to wake up before work so I can still fit my workout in. Then I’ll try to eat dinner before I go to a bar to watch so I can resist deep-fried temptations, OR I’ll order something like a cranberry walnut salad with grilled chicken, for example. *Just because you’re in a bar doesn’t mean you are required to get a 2-foot tall pile of nachos or fried pickles.* On the weekends, however, I do let myself relax a little bit more than I do during the week. I’ll have a rest day and eat a big fat bowl of Orange Leaf or something else that I thoroughly enjoy. That’s where the balance part comes in.

“In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed”

First of all, I want to make it clear that I’m not trying to brag about waking up early to workout and eating well during the playoffs. My intent is to motivate and inspire you to also commit to your goals. What I’m getting at is that if it’s important to you, you will make it happen. You will make time, not excuses. And your health should be important to you, regardless of how busy you are. Take care of yourself now or you’ll regret it later.
So ask yourself – what does balance look like for you? It varies for everyone. We all have different things going on in our lives so our priorities may look a little different. But one thing should be the same for all of us: make time for the things that are important to you. Whether that may be your exercise and eating habits, your family, your work, your friends – make it work. Your happiness and overall well-being depends on it.

I’ll leave you with this: Never stop improving yourself.

Now I will finally share the recipe for the Crockpot White Chicken Chili I made and fell in LOVE with a few weeks ago! I found several recipes online and pulled pieces from each to create my own and I am so happy to report that it was a SUCCESS! This is the perfect meal now that it’s getting colder outside. It’s a comforting dish that’s also healthy, filled with lean protein, fiber, complex carbs and a variety of veggies & spices! I hope you love it as much as we did!

Crockpot White Chicken Chili


• 2-3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (~1.5 lb)

• 2 -15.5 oz cans of reduced-sodium Great Northern (white) beans

• 1 -15 oz can sweet golden corn

• 1 -4.5 oz can chopped green chiles

• 2 -14.5 oz cans reduced-sodium chicken broth

• 1 medium sweet yellow onion, chopped

• 3 garlic cloves, minced

• Juice of 1 lime

• 1 tsp cumin

• ½ tsp onion powder

• ½ tsp garlic powder

• 1.5 tsp chili powder

• ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

• Black pepper to taste

• Plain Greek yogurt, chunky salsa, and reduced-fat shredded cheese (optional – for topping)

I also added in a few shakes of paprika!
Combined in the bowl: chopped onions and minced garlic, along with some limes ready to be squeezed!
Plain Greek yogurt is an awesome substitute for sour cream as a yummy, healthy topping for this Mexican-style soup! And of course cheese and salsa!

1) Place chicken breasts, Great Northern beans, corn, green chiles, chopped onion, minced garlic, and spices in the crockpot. Add 2 cans of chicken broth and squeeze the juice of one lime over the top of the mixture.

2) Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

3) Before removing from crockpot, stir ingredients thoroughly. Use two forks to shred the chicken.

 4) Serve with toppings as desired! I enjoyed mine with some crushed up multigrain scoops, plain Greek yogurt, low-fat shredded cheese, and hot salsa!

Last but not least, GO ROYALS! ?

{eat well. live well. be happy.}

Shanna, RD


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